02-08-2018 Outdoors

The DNR tip this week is how to fish for Walleye and Whitefish on Saginaw Bay. Many anglers flock to Saginaw Bay in the winter to target Walleye and experience an added perk – the possibility of catching Lake Whitefish. To target Walleye, many anglers jig with spoons of various colors. You may want to tip your spoon with a minnow to further entice them. To target Lake Whitefish, many anglers use spawn or a wax worm on a spoon to encourage bites. Winter weather can create conditions that cause fish and other aquatic creatures to die. To simplify the public’s ability to report fish kills, the DNR recently developed an online form for reporting fish kills in quantities larger than 25 fish. A fish kill of this size could have more factors involved that need further DNR investigation. The new Sick or Dead Aquatic Species form can be found in the DNR’s Eyes in the Field application at www.michigan.gov/eyesinthefield. The DNR reminds everyone that after the ice and snow cover melts on Michigan’s lakes this winter it may be common to discover dead fish or other aquatic creatures. Severe winter weather can create conditions that cause fish and other creatures such as turtles, frogs, toads and crayfish to die. Last year the DNR, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Michigan Technological University received an $117,175 grant from the Consumers Energy Foundation to support Michigan’s Arctic Grayling initiative, an effort to reintroduce Arctic Grayling into the state and restore self-sustaining populations of this native fish. The initiative has grown since 2016 and now the partnership includes more than 40 organizations. For more information, visit migrayling.org.

Hunting The DNR announced the three lucky winners of the ninth annual Pure Michigan Hunt. They are Don Rademacher of Lake Odessa in Ionia County, Jim Tilton of Alma in Gratiot County and Amy Ornetowski of Tawas City in Iosco County. Each winner got a pocketful of licenses and more than $4,000 worth of hunting gear. Winners receive elk, bear, spring and fall turkey, antlerless deer licenses and a base license to be used in 2018. In addition, the winners, along with three hunting companions, will get first pick opening morning of the waterfowl season at any of Michigan’s premier managed waterfowl hunt areas. Rademacher, Tilton and Ornetowski each also won a package of gear donated by Michigan businesses and organizations. Among the many donated items were an engraved Henry Golden Boy .22 long rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, a Under Armor pop-up blind, Jet sleds, a $199 Cabela’s gift card and two-day/two-night guided hunt. Plus, many more items.

Each $5.00 Pure Michigan Hunt application purchased helps fund wildlife habitat restoration and management in Michigan. The 2018 drawing saw a total of 35,214 applications purchased by 12,708 individuals, and generated more than $176,000 for habitat restoration and improvement efforts. Michigan State University and the Michigan DNR will be placing location-tracing collars on white-tailed deer in south-central Michigan as part of a multiyear study of deer disease, including chronic wasting disease. The study will assess deer movement and distribution patterns, and their influence on disease spread in and around Clinton and Ingham counties. This is one of a series of aggressive actions to address CWD in Michigan’s deer population and to maintain healthy wildlife for current and future generations. A scientifically based understanding of localized deer dispersal rates, timing and direction, seasonal movement patterns and basic population characteristics is critical for developing effective disease control strategies. Information about the deer movement study can be found at www.bcqwc.org/cwd.html.

This winter is providing us with plenty of snow and a busy cross-country ski and snowshoe season at the Nature Center. Some snow makes for better skiing or snowshoeing conditions than others and many factors such as atmospheric conditions and ground temperature can affect the type of snow that falls. Snow forms during a storm when temperatures are below 32-degrees and a nucleus of dust or salt attracts water molecules from cloud droplets. They accumulate and form ice crystals that become large enough to fall to the ground, often changing shape along the way. When observing the snowflakes close on a dark glove or with a magnifying glass, different crystal shapes can be noticed. The type of crystals formed in a snowstorm determines the snow cover that people and wild animals and plants deal with. Some common crystals observed are stellar or dendrite star-shaped crystals, column crystals and hexagonal crystals. Stellar crystals form when there is plenty of moisture and not too cold temperatures, often creating a slow, peaceful snowfall and good ski conditions. Cross-country ski with Sarett naturalists at the Ross Coastal Marsh Preserve on Sunday, February 11, at 1:00 p.m. Cost is $10 with rentals available. On Saturday, February 17 bring your kids ages 7-12 (adults welcome too) for nature crafts at 1:00 p.m. Craft costs are $1-$2. Please call to register at 269-927-4832 for both events.

Tree planting grants available from Michigan Arbor Day Alliance to Michigan communities